Veterinary Dental Center

Rostral Mandibulectomy for an Acanthomatous Epuli


Mandibular Fracture Management in Animals

Epuli are tumors of the oral cavity. They typically appear as raised gingival tissue. They arise from the cells of the periodontal ligament. Epuli are divided into 3 types:

  • Fibromatous epulis
  • Ossifying epulis
  • Acanthomatous epulis or Ameloblastoma.
  • Fibromatous and ossifying epuli are the most common. They are benign and local surgical excision is curative in most instances. Depending on their size and location, these can be removed with a relatively small amount of healthy tissue. Some cases require extraction of the affected tooth, local debridement, and closure.

    Acanthomatous epuli or ameloblastoma are less common and will locally invade the bone (green arrow). Fortunately, this tumor is benign and therefore does not metastasize and tends to occur more commonly in the rostral regions of the oral cavity. Treatment options for this condition includes: surgery, radiation, or intralesional injections of bleomycin. Surgery is the preferred therapy.

    The initial procedure included radiographic evaluation, incisional biopsy, and fine needle aspirate of the left mandibular lymph node. In the event of a malignant tumor, oncologic staging would include CBC/Chemistry, assessment of regional lymph nodes, 3 view thoracic radiographs, and abdominal ultrasound. Based on the histopathological diagnosis, this patient received a left rostral mandibulectomy. The surgical approach included the tumor and at least 1 cm of normal bone.

    Many oral tumors can be removed with virtually no change in the petís eating or play routine. When larger tumors are removed, the pet may drool more and their tongue may protrude.